In an unexpected plot twist, Tokyo’s Itabashi Ward, known for its vibrant summer festivities, turned a fireworks display into a literal fire show. On the 5th of August, during the 64th Itabashi Fireworks Festival – a spectacle twinned with Saitama Prefecture’s Toda Bridge Fireworks Festival – an unscheduled pyrotechnics display took center stage.

Itabashi Fireworks Fire
Itabashi Fireworks Fire

During the “Great Niagara Falls” segment (not as wet as the real one, it turns out), some innocent undergrowth played the victim. The greenery near the site took the phrase “lit festival” a bit too seriously and ended up burning around 2000 square meters of riverside landscape. Fortunately, no partygoers were hurt during this fiery fiasco.

Despite the blaze, the firework maestros soldiered on and executed about two-thirds of the planned program. Over at the Toda Bridge Festival, it was business as usual, with all activities going off without a, er, spark.

The guys and gals at the Shimura Fire Department and Shimura Police Department are now on detective duty, playing Sherlock to find the cause of the fire. After they’ve pieced together the mystery, measures will be set in place to prevent such spontaneous combustion in the future.

As expected, Itabashi Ward served up a heartfelt apology. They assured us that, based on the findings of the fire and police departments, they will make sure that future festivals are as safe as a kitten in a basket full of cotton candy. Well, they didn’t exactly say that, but you get the gist.

Fireworks or Fire…Works? – A Timeline

  • 7:58 PM: The “Great Niagara Falls” segment begins, not a raincoat in sight.
  • 8:08 PM: Holy Smokes! Fires spotted in three locations; Shimura Fire Department gets the call.
  • 8:10 PM: Officials wave the white flag and call off the Itabashi Fireworks Festival. Party poopers!
  • 9:04 PM: The fire’s under control, phew!
  • 11:02 PM: It’s over! We can finally see the river through the smoke.

It took a whole squad of 18 fire trucks and a firefighting boat to tackle the blaze. Here’s hoping next year’s festival will be remembered more for the fireworks in the sky than the ones on the ground. Watch this space for more updates on this story, and remember folks, safety first!

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